The Many Dimensions of Communication: New Literacies
for the Twenty-First Century
Resource Person: Kirk Fuoss, Associate Professor and Co-Chair of Performance
and Communication Arts
STL: What prompted the creation of this paper? What need does
KF: The “critical literacies” proposal represents an attempt
to deepen and extend St. Lawrence’s longstanding commitment to teaching
communication skills by refocusing our teaching approach around
four interrelated pillars: saturation, duration, integration and ethics:
implies a commitment to communication across the curriculum.
*Duration implies a commitment to communication across the four years.
*Integration implies a commitment to improving students’ abilities
to communicate across a variety of modes, media and channels (e.g.,
oral, written, visual, live, mediated, digital)—in other words, a
variety of literacies.
*Ethics implies a commitment to improving students’ abilities to
communicate with integrity both within and across a wide variety of
communities, constituencies, and cultures.
STL: Why is it important?
KF: Being an effective and ethical communicator is vital regardless
of what majors students pursue here, or what careers they pursue after
STL: Why are faculty excited about it?
KF: Most St. Lawrence faculty members are already acutely aware
of the vital role communication practices play within their respective
disciplines. Most are also already aware of how vitally important
it is that faculty, students and alumni be able to communicate effectively
both within and across disciplinary and professional boundaries. Enhancing
students’ ability to function as effective producers and discriminating
consumers of communication is central to our mission as a liberal arts
STL: How will it be implemented?
KF: We are transforming the faculty initiative into a rhetoric
and communication program, which we plan to launch in the
fall of 2007. The
program’s work will take place on a variety of fronts simultaneously,
including faculty development, the training of peer mentors,
facilities planning and renovation, and curricular reform.
components of the program have already been implemented (see
include developing a course specifically designed to train peer mentors
in diverse forms of inquiry and expression, as well as offering a January
faculty development institute aimed at fostering an integrated approach
to the teaching of inquiry and the skills associated with oral, written
and visual rhetoric.
To read the Academic Strategic Planning Paper on rhetoric and critical
literacies, visit http://www.stlawu.edu/acadaffairs/whitepapers.htm and
click on Critical Literacies.